Estate planning is never one-size-fits-all. Everyone has different goals, different needs, and different financial situations. As such, one of the most important steps in the process is meeting with an attorney to determine which estate planning documents are right for you.
For example, would your needs be better served by a living trust or will lawyers? Living trust or will lawyers can consult with you to determine which option makes the most sense. In the meantime, consider a few quick points about these two documents, and the value that each can bring to your estate plan.
What is a Will?
Let’s start by considering the basic will.
Basically, a will is a legal document that allows you to outline your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets upon your death. In addition, a will lets you specify your wishes regarding guardianship for your minor children.
While a will can sometimes be a useful component of your estate plan, it’s important to keep in mind that wills have some inherent limitations. Most notably, your will is probably not going to be sufficient to keep your estate out of probate. To accomplish that, you may want to consider having a trust.
What is a Living Trust?
So, what is a living trust, exactly?
A living trust is a legal document, usually created under the guidance of a living trust lawyer, that designates a person (a trustee) to manage your assets on your behalf. Crucially, living trusts are designed to make it easy for you to transfer your assets upon your death, and to sidestep the often-complex probate process.
Different Types of Living Trust
As you consider including a living trust within your estate plan, it’s important to note that there are two basic types, the revocable living trust and the irrevocable living trust. A living trust attorney can help you determine which one is in your best interests.
- Revocable living trust. The revocable living trust allows you to appoint yourself as the trustee, which can give you a little more control over how the assets are managed. With that said, the assets remain part of your estate, meaning you may be on the hook for estate taxes.
- Irrevocable living trust. An irrevocable living trust requires you to hand over control of your assets, entrusting the management of them to a designated trustee. The trustee becomes the legal owner of the assets, which has the upshot of releasing you from the burden of paying estate taxes.
Again, a living trust attorney can help you make an informed decision about which type of document you need.
Choosing What’s Best for Your Estate Plan
It is sometimes assumed that having a will is sufficient for your estate planning needs. At Singh Law Firm, we advise most of our clients to weigh the benefits of a living trust, which can help them stay out of probate, maintain the full value of their estate, and keep the contents of their estate confidential.
But again, estate planning is never one-size-fits-all, and more complex estates require more intricate strategies. The best way to achieve your estate planning goals is to work closely with a living trust lawyer, like the ones here at Singh Law Firm.
A will and estate lawyer from our firm can walk you through all the different documents and tools that are available to you, including the financial Power of Attorney. To learn more about the different ways to protect your estate, beyond a simple last will and testament, reach out and schedule an appointment with Singh Law Firm.